Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mini Quilt Swap

Last month I sent off a mini to a secret partner.  I like swaps, I find it fun to get something in the mail that is handmade, because when you make things you tend to not make anything for yourself.  This way you are making an item, but you get one too.

This was a Mini Quilt Swap

I started with half square triangles using Bonnie and Camille fabric.  These fabrics were not ones I would usually work with, my partner had requested them.  I like going out of my comfort zone and trying colors I wouldn't normally work with.

My partner also mentioned that she was a big tea drinker - so I added a quilted embellishment to the bottom of the mini quilt.

In the group there were some members who did not receive their Mini - sad that some would join and commit to a project and then just not do anything.  Anyway - I volunteered to make another Mini for one of the members who hadn't received.  This person I didn't receive details of what she wanted, but she did post a mosaic of some things she liked so I was able to pick something that I hope she will love.

I started with my bin of selvedges

Stitched rows down on to a base of Kona White

And on top added a pieced Aurifil thread spool block 

The Aurifil thread number I used to match the solid is #2605

I used a grid pattern for the quilting 

My Angel partner should receive in a few days, and I hope she loves it (because I kind of wanted to keep it after it was done!)

Back to some Christmas Sewing - still have lots to do and a short time to get it all done!

Happy Sewing
Keep Calm and Quilt On!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

And the Stockings were hung before Christmas

For a change, I finished something Chrismtasy that I wanted for this Christmas, before next Christmas.  This was a feat.  

I wanted a handmade stocking for the Granbaby - I have never made a stocking.  I did have some Christmas fabric on hand that I bought a year ago, you know, for last Christmas.  
I looked at some pictures, read a few tutorials, thumbed through some magazines for tips, and then just jumped in.

I don't have progress shots, but I basically took my stocking, traced it on Kona White, and then used that as a template.

Front and back

I used fuseable fleece as the batting, and I quilted with metallic thread, first time using that thread, and I've had it for ages.  On the thread spool it said to turn your top tension to 1 and I used a metallic thread needle, everything worked fine for the free motion quilting.  

I used Kona White for the lining.

I used grey minky on the cuff, this made the seams a bit bulky, but I like the look.

The tab gave me trouble, I wasn't sure how to add it, I added it after the stocking was finished on this one, but on the next two, I was able to add it during construction. 

This turned out so well, I made one for my daughter and boyfriend for their new place, everyone needs a little Christmas, especially when you are just starting out.

Hello Kitty!

Dr Who!  (fabric from Spoonflower)

Keep Calm and Keep Christmas Sewing!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Totally Totes

Hi, I'm Mary - I'm a tote addict.  Along with all the other things I'm addicted to like fabric, patterns, notions, fabric,  zippers, thread, and I think I mentioned fabric.  

I meet once a month with a small group of sewists, and of course in December we have a fun Holiday get together.  We also have a yearly pillowcase project for a local girls home.  We each make a pillowcase and then we fill all the pillowcases with personal hygiene items.  When a girl gets one of these bags, she has a pillowcase to keep and hopefully some practical items she needs.  
Can I show you a photo of the pillowcases?  I would if it would load - which it will not.  

This year we also had a tote bag exchange.  I made up my tote, I figure I've made a few - I could wing it.  

To be honest, I had the ring of flying geese block already made from a prior swap.  The block didn't come in at 12.5", so I just hung on to it.  For this tote the block size didn't matter, I just wanted a focal piece that was colorful and fun for my partner.  

I used Riley Blake charm squares for the back.

The interior is bright and has a pocket.  The handles are sturdy cotton web.

My reading glasses for scale.

Detail of the quilting.

I would like to make a pattern for this bag - as soon as I can make another, remember to write everything down, measure while I'm working and take progress photos - I will do that!  I'm figuring not everyone can just make it up as they go.  It is a good size tote, sturdy, and nice looking.  I need one for myself!  Need.

And here is the bag I received.  I. Am. Amazed!

It's great when your friends know you so well.  

Keep Calm and Quilt On

Monday, December 2, 2013

How old are some of your WIPs

I have some really old ones (WIPs) - I am a quilt topper queen.  I enjoy the part of acquiring fabric, cutting it, piecing it back together into something, and then storing it away until one day I can magically have those extra ten hours every day for quilting.  I have many many tops that await for me to designate them worthy of quilting time, and some are probably older than this one.  

I remodeled my kitchen in 2008 - so sometime before that, I started this tablecloth, I assembled the entire top.  And then it was put away.  

When we remodeled, we did away with a table and we have an island with a granite table attached.  No need for a tablecloth now, and it isn't rectangular,  so this tablecloth went into some pile for maybe getting to later, but really doesn't have a purpose anymore, so who knows what will happen.  Here is a photo of the newer granite table, this photo was after a hurricane and we had lost power, so I had set up in the kitchen to use the generator.

I ran across this unfinished tablecloth again while my immense closet clean out was happening.  I decided that I would finish this one off and use it for Thanksgiving, because the whole thing was together, I didn't want to waste all the work.  I set up a folding table for extra seating on Thanksgiving, and this would do for that table.

I backed it with flannel, no batting and grid stitched the entire top.  And the flannel I had bought way back when too, and was with the tablecloth when I pulled it out.  Sometimes, I actually have a plan, I just don't remember all the plans.

The tablecloth turned out nice, and was used on Thanksgiving, I don't have a photo of that, but I do have a day after photo, when someone was exploring the extra furniture in the room.

Bunny stamp of approval.

Keep Calm and Quilt On!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Owl Mini Quilt

I know I have been going crazy these past few weeks, have you?  With cleaning, holiday prepping, cooking and baking, and the all important shopping.  To add to my holiday madness we decided to replace our carpets, which are 15 years old and are long overdue for replacement.  I had put off this ginormous endeavor as long as possible - I didn't want to go through every single closet in the house.  But, the time had way past to replace, so we are doing it.  

Thus, I have spent hours rearranging, sorting for Goodwill, selling on Ebay, and taking to my children's homes their belongings that I was expected to continue to hold on to.  Ha!  I am still actually holding on to some of the childhood belongings, too precious for either Goodwill or their own homes.  And also letting go of some things in my closets that I have held on to for too long (not fabric, mind you).

Selling things on Ebay = New Fabric! (Shhhh!)

A nice fat quarter bundle from my friend Samantha at Pattern Crush, she has a nice Etsy Shop (bonus, she is having a sale right now!) and will make personal bundles for you.  I can't wait to dig into these.

And an order of Botanics from the fabulous shop PInk Chalk Fabrics, honestly I can't say enough nice things about Kathy and her staff.  Their customer service is prompt and helpful, and the orders seem to fly across the country.  

The last two weeks I needed to complete two totally different mini quilts.  I loved making both of them.

First was this crazy wonky owl

I fused the owl on to linen (ignore that spot in the top right, it is just a water spot) and added a scrappy border.

I free motion quilted in details on the owl and added a whimsical branch for him to stand on.  
I have to say, I really didn't want to give this one up.  

This was for a swap at my local Modern Quilt Guild, and I hope my partner liked him as much as I do!

Happy Holiday Sewing Everyone!
Keep Calm and Quilt On!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Nursery Sewing - I love it!

Before I show you all I have been sewing this week -
I am excited to host a small Holiday swap 

We will be swapping 
1 dozen cookies
the cookie recipe
1 small handmade item 
Mail by Dec 15 to your secret partner

Your handmade item can be a drawstring bag, zip pouch, small tote, pillow - something small handmade.  You do not have to join the Flickr group - here is the SIGN UP form.  You can chose to have a Holiday, Winter, or every day themed item.  Please join us!  
This is a USA only swap, due to cookie shipping (Sorry!)

I am working on nursery items for a special family friend.  Her baby shower is in a couple of days, and I can't wait to hand over all these handmade goodies!

The baby's nursery is going to have a vintage sports theme.

Of course I made a Divided Basket (you can purchase the pattern) or order one from me!

Every baby needs a minky blanket

And every new Mom needs some burp cloths and to keep her sense of humor

Close up

Working on the custom crib bumpers

I am going to start offering the monogrammed minky blankets, divided baskets and burp cloths for custom orders.  Contact me via my email if you are interested.  I will get these set up in an etsy shop soon, too, but that will probably happen in the new year.  If you are interested before then, I will be happy to take your order and we can work out details via email.  

Happy Sewing everyone!
I hope you will join in on the Cookie Swap, plenty of time between now and Dec 15 to make a small item, and you know you will be making cookies!  

Keep Calm and Quilt On!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cascade Quilt and Pattern Give Away!

Not too long ago one of the quilters I follow on Instagram asked for pattern testers for a new quilt pattern she had made.  This is the beautiful and talented Susannah Kate and the quilt is The Cascade Quilt.  

I volunteered to be a pattern tester with the intention of getting a quilt finished for a nursery.  I had made all the other items (here) and the baby is now 5 months old, and I think he has waited long enough for his quilt.  The rest of the nursery was done with the Sarah Watts line Timber and Leaf.  I had plenty of fabric to make a good size quilt.

I will be the first to admit that I am not that good at following a pattern.  I get lost, I skip steps, I don't read - just look at the photos.  Well, guess what?  Susannah made a pattern just for me!  This one was laid out perfectly.  I very easily followed and stuck to the directions.  Thanks, Susannah!

This is a fat quarter friendly pattern.  First thing she tells you is to cut your pieces and put them into baggies labeled with numbers 1 - 10.  Done.  

I did have some quarter yard cut pieces vs fat quarters that I used in this pattern, and they worked just as well.  

After getting everything up on the design wall, and Susannah has each row measured out for you in her diagram (she's done all the math y'all!) I decided on some minor changes.  One, there were animals in some of the prints and I wanted them all right side up if possible.  I didn't have enough of one of the fabrics to do this, but several of the others I did, so I made a few extra cuts to get my animals going in the right direction. 

Two, before sewing my rows together, (and I just pulled pieces down from the design wall and started going), I moved a few of my fabrics around to get a better balance of colors.  I felt there were several of the darker shades bunched together, and I switched two of the fabrics around.  Right now, I can't even tell you which two they were, so it must have worked!  And lastly, I traded out one of the solids I had included for another print in the Timber and Leaf line, I felt the solid was too close to the background color and was lost.  So you can make these minor changes before you start sewing because everything is laid out for you in the diagram. 

 Trying to get a good photo on a very windy day was not working out.

Had to use two holders

I took a few more on a much less windy day - as this is still just a top in the line to be quilted.  

I used Kona Natural for the background color.  There is another Kona solid thrown into the mix and a Riley Blake print, which will also be used for the binding.  

Guess what?  You can enter to win a free pattern! Just leave a comment below, that's all you have to do!  (Make sure I can email you for your winnings if you do enter, please) I will be drawing the random winner at the end of the blog hop.
You can also visit Susannah Kate's Etsy shop if you would like to purchase the pattern.  

Please visit some of the the other pattern testers on the blog hop listed below to see their version of the Cascade quilt:

Cascade  Quilt  Blog  Hop  Schedule  
Oct  26  ␣  Trina  @  
Oct  27  ␣  Alex  @  
Oct  28  ␣  Diane  @  
Oct  29  ␣  Jenny  Mae  @  
Oct  30  ␣  Courtney  @  
Oct  31  ␣  Heather  @  
Nov  1  ␣  Mary  @  
Nov  2  -­‐  Summer  @  
Nov  3  ␣  Susannah  Kate  @  

Also,  please  visit  Amber  @ She  has written a  great post about the Cascade quilt  pattern  and  has such cute  pictures!  
We  are  all Instagrammers and  have a wonderful feed under the hashtag  #cascadequilt. You will find more  wonderful examples  of  the  Cascade quilt  including  a  beautiful  one made with all solids!  Include your own Cascade  quilt  We'd  all  love  to  see  it!     

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Bee Quilt Entry

I'm entering a quilt in the Blogger's Festival - Bee Quilts category.  Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side has set up different categories to enter and has great prizes from sponsors.  Go check out all the quilts!  And everyone has a chance to vote from Nov 1-7

This was one of my favorite quilts to finish this year.  One it incorporated one of my favorite lines of fabric Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2, two the blocks were already done for me with a group of ladies from an older bee on Flickr, and three while putting together the top it occurred to me that I had a friend that this quilt would be perfect for.   

The block I had selected for the bee is from the book, Block Party, The Modern Quilting Bee.  

So these blocks sat for awhile, or for a year.  Maybe more. I played with the blocks some, trying to figure out how to incorporate the bird fabric. And then I would put them away, having to think on it some more.

And then one day there was some serious sewing mojo happened and I came up with a plan.

The mojo involved sewing and math and placement play but it came together

And then I had a very nice quilt for a very dear friend 

I love the way the Aviary fabric is highlighted in the borders - I had just enough.  I used a mixture of Kona solids and Kaffe Fassett shot cottons for the solids.  

Many thanks to the ladies in my bee that helped put together some of my blocks.  Thank you for stopping by to see the photos for my entry in the Blogger's Quilt Festival bee group.    I appreciate all your comments.  Be sure to visit the other fabulous quilts on Amy's Blog and place your vote in the different categories from Nov 1-7

Keep Calm and Quilt On!